January Calendar Kids: Triple the specialty care for the tireless Turnmire triplets
January 25, 2023
CHoR patients Remington, Maverick and Oakleigh Turnmire

    Triple the specialty care for the tireless Turnmire triplets

    The old saying “three’s a crowd” doesn’t apply to the Turnmire triplets. Actually, 2-year-old Maverick, Remi and Oakleigh are just perfect, each with their own distinctive temperament and journey to keep their parents on their toes.

    Three unique personalities, three sets of medical needs

    “Maverick is rough, tough and a go getter. Nothing stops him. Even with his delays and diagnoses, he is right there trying to keep up with his sisters. Nobody is a stranger to Maverick,” said mom, Katie. “Remi…she’s adventurous and full of energy. She loves to laugh and have a good time. And Oakleigh is very caring and has a big heart. She’s always taking care of someone or telling me if someone needs something.”

    As with most triplets, the Turnmire trio was born early and faced a number of “normal” preemie conditions, including low birth weight, chronic lung disease, patent ductus arteriosus, retinopathy of prematurity and feeding intolerance. At 2-3 months, Maverick developed necrotizing enterocolitis – a serious intestinal disease that’s not uncommon among premature babies – and esophageal stenosis, or narrowing of the esophagus. At 4 months, Oakleigh ended up back in the NICU for failure to thrive, inguinal hernia repair and hypertension. And at 6 months Maverick was diagnosed with white matter loss, small optic nerve, brain bleed, esophageal atresia (part of the esophagus didn’t form properly) and tracheomalacia (collapse of the airway when breathing).

    Starting with surgery, the Turnmires find a team for their family at CHoR

    The Turnmire family was initially connected with our CHoR surgery team by their birth hospital.

    “We met Dr. Sulkowski early on when Maverick needed to get his g-tube, and with Oakleigh when she had hernia surgery and g-tube surgery,” said Katie. “We had another experience with him when Oakleigh required emergency surgery due to an abdominal infection. We were able to contact him around 9 p.m. with concerns and make a video call with him to evaluate Oakleigh before we went to the ER. He informed his team what was going on and showed up for a 4 a.m. emergency surgery. Post op care was exceptional from him and his team, and he followed Oakleigh very closely while we were inpatient and through recovery.”

    Maverick also required specialized esophageal surgery. Knowing that it would demand very specific expertise, Dr. Sulkowski recommended and collaborated with a colleague in another state who specializes in the niche care for this rare need.

    “Dr. Sulkowski worked so hard to get us approved for transfer. He followed Maverick’s progress while we were out of state and continues to check in on him,” said Katie.

    Communication and teamwork are key to successful pediatric care

    “It has been a real pleasure to help take care of Maverick and Oakleigh. They have such great family support which makes a lot of what we do so easy. They’ve both been through a lot but have been such fighters,” said Dr. Sulkowski. “The key to taking care of complex patients is communication. Making sure first that the family knows what’s going on and giving regular updates. Also critically important is good communication between the different teams involved in their care.”

    In addition to surgery, among the three of them, Maverick, Remi and Oakleigh have been to CHoR for ER visits, acute care, PICU and imaging – and they receive a combination of ongoing outpatient specialty care from our teams in allergy, ENT, gastroenterology, genetics, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, pulmonology and sleep medicine. They also have regular therapy appointments to help with developmental and speech delays.

    “CHoR has been excellent with all of our encounters. A lot of communication needs to happen between our local team and Maverick’s out of state team,” added Katie. “If any troubles arise, we pull Jan [pediatric patient advocate] in and things get taken care of. She is great to have as a resource with a complicated kid.”

    Maverick, Remi and Oakleigh – Making their marks

    Turnmire triplets playing in the leavesRemi and Oakleigh are recent graduates of early intervention services. Remi is jumping “so big!” and her personality continues to emerge as her speech is taking off. Oakleigh’s speech is coming along as well, and her spunky personality is developing. She’s also working on mastering her colors, shapes and letters with the help of her sister. Maverick recently celebrated the 2-year anniversary of his big esophagus surgery. He’s working hard with feeding therapy and recently started swallowing some preferred foods. He starts speech therapy next month.

    Along with all the appointments with their friends at CHoR, the Turnmires have plenty of fun too. Caring Oakleigh loves her baby dolls and stuffed animals, and Remi gravitates toward coloring, stickers and outside adventures. Maverick prefers cars, trucks, blocks and learning toys – especially if they include Mickey or Elmo.

    A new Children’s Tower for the Turnmires

    Both Dr. Sulkowski and the Turnmires are looking forward to the opening of the Children’s Tower in a few months and what having all the specialty care available in one place will mean for Maverick, Remi, Oakleigh and every kid who relies on CHoR to help them stay healthy, happy and thriving.

    See all the specialty services available for kids at CHoR.

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